Sister Ill, Better Now

from by Mumblin Deaf Ro

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'Sister ill, Better Now' is about the unspoken pact that develops between siblings to worry about each other once their parents are no longer around to do it.

The song is set as a day at the beach with my sister during her recovery from illness. It tries to capture the casual intimacy of the whole thing and the easy conviviality between people who have been through a lot together.

The second verse includes a scene where my sister and my wife (for the record, two different people) conspire to cheat at Scrabble by using made-up words. These are the 'Dictionary Crimes' of the album's title. (Scrabble is a recurring theme on the album.)

I think this song represents a good nutshell of the album: the family-themed lyrics are intimate but stoical; the guitar and bass are well engineered and disciplined without sounding regimented; and the subtle drumming of Joss Moorkens shows his careful touch and ability to season a song judiciously.


On the beach
With the waves in pleats
My sister ill, but better now,
Calling me a spoilsport
For staying and minding the coats
While she dips in and tries the cold

Still though
It’s good to see her outdoors again
A little thin but fit to swim
And browse among the rock pools
Wearing a candy stripe top
And looking like a lighthouse lost

Safe and almost carefree now
After the strangest time
Apart from the family overbite
Sharing a pact to worry
And take your side

She stays the night
Too tired to drive
My sister ill, but better now,
Colluding with my wife by
Cheating at Scrabble in turns
But for once I don’t contest her words

It’s just nice
Dictionary crimes aside
To talk so late about how great
Our parents looked at our age
Proud of my aubergine veins
And the blood that carries both of our names

Safe and almost carefree now
After the strangest time
Apart from the family overbite
Sharing a pact to worry
And take your side


from Dictionary Crimes, released September 14, 2012



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Mumblin Deaf Ro Dublin, Ireland

Mumblin’ Deaf Ro is a Dublin-based songwriter who has released three albums to date. Ro's third album 'Dictionary Crimes' was released by Popical Island in September 2012. The album decsribes what it is like to be part of a family. It was selected as Irish album of the year by Nialler9 and the Irish Independent and was nominated for the Choice Music prize for album of the year. ... more

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